Saturday, 30 October 2010

A nice wee feature

 a nice wee feature beside the Forth and Clyde Canal
You know, I occasionally like to share some of my wide ranging planning expertise here so that I can enlighten folk who are less knowledgeable than I am so I'm going to fill you in about public art and its uses in the exciting world of town planning. Most commonly, it's what we call "a nice wee feature", often used at a "gateway" to a regeneration area or even as the centrepiece of a business park or shopping centre. Often it can be used to indicate where you might find a public toilet. Useful. That wooden frog above is a sure sign that something has happened in the area - large wooden frogs don't just appear by the roadside overnight in my experience.
a boy and his dog go shopping - a fabulously apt message
Animals are very popular and one of my favourites is this lovely wee metal dog and his master from somewhere down south. Truly a triumphant work and a very meaningful piece too that resonates with the times - a boy and his dog go shopping - how very apt. So full marks and a big tick for the genius that dreamt up this one.
an old bit of Roman public art near the Antonine Wall
Now it's true that this sort of thing has been around for a while dating back to Roman times perhaps - or at least to when the Romans were driven out of Scotland by the Picts in 1066 - for example above (courtesy of Google Streetview) you can see a piece of public art over 1000 years old that commemorates that very event on the Antonine Wall near Cumbernauld. Excuse me if my grasp of history is a little sketchy here but you get the idea. This is a great wee feature if ever there was one - clever of the Romans.
a proud young lady and her lovely creation
But perhaps my all time favourite is this composition above - nothing whatsoever to do with the lovely young lady on the left I assure you - but a really attractive feature. Like a fireplace - but without the fire.

So you can see, public art is not only a force for good but also an excellent way of showing that town planners have been hard at work in an area. Sooner than you can say "women with blazing chip pans", public art tells you that you are in a depraved community that has placed its first foot on the ladder of progress - thanks to town planning.


Jonathan Clarke said...

Glad to see you posting more frequently, Dave. As a planning student, I'm finding your blog an essential read.

Good examples of public art. However, I think this beauty from Bristol is the finest example of world class, public art:

Dave Thompson said...

Hello Jonathan

Glad you could step aboard! I wish I had that picture last night as I was putting that post together. Truly a wonderful example of our work at its best. Good luck with your studies.

Yours in planning

Dave T

Tim R said...

Wow, cutting edge stuff, Dave! Keep the ideas flowing, there's great learning in there for all of us.

caebrwyn said...

Hi, Thought you might like Carmarthenshire Council's Rusty Tree sculpture on a roundabout in Carmarthen. Of course perfectly good trees were felled to accommodate this £30,000 example of public art - I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder but the general consensus of public opinion is 'scrap'

Dave Thompson said...

Well hello there Caebrwyn and thanks for stepping aboard - this is a truly wonderful piece of work that demonstrates all the appropriate principles - thanks!

Dave T